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Martha Gerber Rittenger

Alumna Martha Gerber Rittinger is an active member of the Chillicothe Campus Giving Circle

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Chillicothe Campus Giving Circle illustrates “paying it forward” concept

The concept of “paying it forward” is an essential component of the Chillicothe Campus’s educational experience. This notion emphasizes individuals who recognize others who have helped them along their career paths, and then return the favor by using their time and talent to help current students. This is the essence of the Women in Philanthropy Giving Circle.

The Giving Circle puts “paying it forward” in action by allowing area residents to share their life lessons with Chillicothe Campus students.

“The Chillicothe Campus Giving Circle provides opportunities for individuals to become mentors, and to make a difference in the lives of our students,” said Joyce Atwood, the Campus’s director of resource development. Atwood has spearheaded this initiative, which also supports projects that improve the overall educational experience for Chillicothe Campus students. “A quality learning experience includes opportunities for growth outside of the classroom that expand students’ horizons and prepare them to live fulfilling lives of impact,” she said.

Members of the Giving Circle are area residents, many of whom pursued their college degrees on the Chillicothe Campus and who have made their own marks and have a passion for helping others find their professional footing, Atwood said.

“Giving Circle members share their resources, as well as their experiences and insights, with current Chillicothe Campus students.”

The goal of the Giving Circle is that current Chillicothe Campus students will build upon these experiences and, in time, use their resources and insights to help others, Atwood said.

“In this way, the concept of ‘paying it forward’ continues to future generations of students,” she said.

Martha Gerber Rittinger, the 2012 Rich Bebee Alumni Leadership Award recipient, has been an active member of the Giving Circle, and her involvement is based on a simple premise.

“I do it because there is a need,” Rittinger explained. “Joyce Atwood has done a wonderful job of energizing the group. My task has been to introduce students to our community and to assist with special programs.”

Rittinger brings a strong sense of community and appreciation of education to her role. She earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Ohio University in 1955, a master’s degree from the Ohio State University and a law degree from Capital University. For more than 50 years, she has operated two family businesses, Maple Monte Farms and Gerber Construction. She is a retired attorney.

Formed in 2010, the Chillicothe Campus Giving Circle has identified four areas of emphasis: student-life experiences, health and wellness, mentoring opportunities and service learning. These activities reinforce academic and student life experiences by engaging students in activities that add another dimension to their college careers beyond what they learn in the classroom.

A particularly successful component of the Giving Circle activities has been the “Conversation With Successful Women Series,” which allows individuals who have attained particular career success to share their experiences and insights with current students and area residents.

“This series has been instrumental in both allowing our current students to learn important secrets to success as well as showing these students they are following in the footsteps of successful individuals who represent this region’s core values and who have achieved greatness,” Atwood said. “These individuals are role models and inspire our class of current students and future leaders.”

In all, the Chillicothe Campus Giving Circle proves that “paying it forward” is more than a concept; it’s a core value that distinguishes the Chillicothe Campus educational experience.

The Promise Lives
Ohio University's current capital campaign, The Promise Lives Campaign, has raised more than $413 million toward its goal of $450 million by June 2015 in support of students, faculty, programs, facilities and community partnerships. 

Click here to learn about giving to the Chillicothe Campus.

Click here to learn about The Promise Lives Campaign.

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